Thomas Marsh: July 2011

Volunteer with citizenship now

Thomas Marsh Since joining the Volunteer Corps, Thomas has volunteered at numerous Citizenship Now! events and trainings.:

Q.  Why did you choose to volunteer with CUNY Citizenship Now?
A.  "My dad's grandparents were both from the British Isles, Ireland and Scotland, I believe. Dad was more Irish than Grampie (sic), because of his mother. Mom's grandparents were French-Canadian. She had an ancestor who was an Indian princess. I have their family album which I might research some day. I am the product of an Irish American System: St. Bernard's Parish, elementary school, high school, altar boy, twelve years of parochial schooling."

Q. What’s one of your most memorable moments as a volunteer with Citizenship Now?
A.  "The most memorable moment was at Queens College.  An immigrant from China, I believe, came to the event dressed in his best traditional attire.  His wife, who had sponsored him, had passed on, and his status was in danger.  He sat there politely, quietly and respectfully.  He was referred to an attorney's office for follow up services.  The staff attorneys on site thought that his case deserved extra assistance."

Q.  Has your knowledge of the immigration community improved because of the time you have spent volunteering with us, and if so, in what ways?
"My knowledge of their struggle has improved. I had forgotten that some people are illiterate in their native tongue.  I taught a lot of ESL kids at John Adams High, they were great students- a little rambunctious at times, very polite and respectful."

Q.  In what ways has volunteering with Citizenship Now! impacted you, personally?
"I met another volunteer, an attorney from CUNY who seems to be one of the nicest people I have ever met."

Q.  What is your favorite part about our Saturday events?
"The clients and the wraps. Also the vibe of the whole process. Do good!"

Q.  What do you do when you are not volunteering?
"I'm trying to bring back my health.  I am certified as a spinning instructor.  I volunteer at the YMCA in Flushing.  I also do creative writing at the SAGE program at the LGBT Center, 13th St. in Manhattan.  That is through the "Writers Coalition". A second class sometimes (Room to Write).  I did improv and mentoring at the "All Stars Project, Castillo Theater."

Q.  If you're not from NYC, where are you from originally?
A.  "I grew up in Fitchburg, a small mill town in Massachusetts.  I tried to be a politician but that did not work out. I came out at 26, broke up with my boyfriend, joined the army looking for a job but that did not work out.  I moved to Worcester, Massachusetts.  Got a job, and went for a masters.  I applied to law school and I got into CUNY Law (Class of 91). I moved to New York City, started working for the Board of Education and graduated."

Q.  What is your favorite hobby?
A.  "I enjoy gardening and volunteering at the Pomonock Senior Center, and I'm looking for a job.  Life is good. No complaints."